Is information becoming so commoditized that the prevailing social meme (i.e, expectation in this case) is “lay it ALL on me baaaaaby — just don’t expect me to give you anything for it!”?
Okay, before I tell you what re-surfaced this topic for me, a bit of background:
Between 2005 and 2010, I was highly-focused on publishing content in the area of personal-growth, spirituality, metaphysics, conscious living, etc.
Along with a key partner in the quest, we had an insatiable appetite for extracting improv-style / on-the-fly know-how and experiential wisdom from Thought Leaders doing some awakening, profoundly eye-opening stuff.
We put the recordings of our interviews (plus transcripts) inside a membership or two (i.e., behind a members-only paywall).
For the most part, we had nothing but grateful, highly-satisfied customers for over 5 years.
But, over the last year or so of our research and content-creation, we started noticing an increased trend of whining and entitlement.
One of the common myths — more like misguided beliefs — we heard is that the mentors and teachers we connected our community with should be giving away THEIR products (CDs, books, courses, paid seminars, etc.)… for FREE !
Or, just to give you an idea of how DEEP this mindset can go, here’s an actual email we got (somewhat of a mind-twister, I know, but didn’t want to edit it for clarity so you can see human nature in rare form):
“Why is it that these people who can make so much money by just ‘thinking’ it into their lives are always charging so much money to help other people earn money, set goals or whatever, and at the same time tell us ‘there is plenty to go around, it’s just waiting for you to ask, think, imagine, believe’? If it is there for the taking, why do we need to pay someone who should by now be rolling in it?”
Or, if it’s not very closely related to a comment like that, it’s something to the effect of:
“How dare you charge people for access to sacred universal laws”
- or -
“In the realm of spiritual wisdom, money should only be donated, not required for access to it.”
I yi yi… well… as you might image (definitely, if you really know me), I wrestled some of these people into the mud with raw rebuttals to this kind of thinking.
But, it was this from a fellow digital media / info-publishing associate (Tony Rush) that caught my eye recently:
“The tendency for people to want everything for free is worse than it’s ever been. And it hits the creative types harder than anyone.
“Filmmakers. Writers. Graphic artists. Designers. Songwriters. Artists.”
Tony went on to talk about how only 1% of Nikki Minaj’s fans bought her last album.
And, reminded us of one of the hottest songs of 2014; a song by Pharrell Williams simply titled Happy. It got a Grammy nomination. That song only generated royalties from Pandora… wait… wait for it… of $2,700. Yet it was played 43,000,000 times.
I’m not trying to make this post into a debate on the peculiarities of the music industry; or the business of contract royalties.
Yet, the bigger point is that quid-pro-quo needs taught at a young age, just (ideally) as many key concepts of interpersonal dynamics do.
Whether it’s guiding our youth into learning about reciprocity or more tangible things such as planning and productivity, it’s time to get un-PC about the whole “something for nothing” mindset as it comes your way.
Building (making) wealth starts with the foundation of knowing about creating something of value; of then having the skills to market and sell (exchange) that value (useful product / service) for it (MONEY, or rather, return energy to get holistic about it).
As I see myself making this post twice as long as I want it (maybe Part Deux will be in order), I’ll hand this off to Tony to finish it up:
“All this ‘free’ stuff comes at a cost.
“Because, when you stop paying the songwriters….when you stop paying the artists….when you don’t support museums and artists and theaters….when you constantly try to haggle with designers who deserve to get paid well for their design work….
“….then you’re attacking the goose that lays the golden eggs.
- Tip the musician $20 who’s playing in the restaurant.
- Write a check to your local community theater.
- Pledge something to public radio or TV.
- Buy the albums and T-shirts and merch from your favorite bands.
- Consider becoming a patron to a rising artist, dancer or actor.
- Find some photographer who had their camera stolen and replace it for them.
- Or send a Sweetwater gift card to your favorite guitarist.
The world would be a much different place without these people.”
P.S. Actually, I will get the last word in. I want to end with something I feel every man and woman, irrespective of age and/or wisdom, should soak in.
It’s this: we have to be open to the notion of polarity in everything in life; that means, nothing is one-sided; everything contains its opposite.
Every up has a down; every right has a left; every inside has an outside; every perceived “good” has a perceived (or labeled) “bad.”
Greatness and difficulties, pleasure and pain, support and challenge.. they all go hand-in-hand.
With that in mind, you’ll be able to see how one of the most useful aspects of dealing with “human nature” is that you can learn best from it when it’s at its worst — when it lets its most victimitis-thinking, finger-pointing, cynical self rear its head.
How do I deal with some of the oddities of life; the quirks and human stuck-ness I see around (and within) me?
Simple… I write about them ;)
I hope you’ll continue to pay attention to me on my quest…